There’s the Rub: Thomas Becket in Medieval Manuscripts

There’s the Rub: Thomas Becket in Medieval Manuscripts By Sian Witherden, Resource Description Librarian Gold leaf, intricate borders, elaborate illuminations—St John’s College MS 82 has it all. This devotional book, produced c.1475, is one of the most visually impressive medieval manuscripts in the library’s collection. Even after five centuries, many of the pages look asContinue reading “There’s the Rub: Thomas Becket in Medieval Manuscripts”

Collaborative Blog #1

Decorative Features in Medieval Manuscripts By Sian Witherden, Resources Description Librarian This blog post has been published in collaboration with Teaching the Codex at https://teachingthecodex.com/2021/05/19/decorative-features/. Teaching the Codex is an interdisciplinary project on the teaching of palaeography and codicology. It was launched with a colloquium at Merton College Oxford on 6th February 2016 as a specialContinue reading “Collaborative Blog #1”

Librarian’s Pick #7: The Brittany Gospels

St John’s Oldest Book: The Brittany Gospels (MS 194) by Petra Hofmann, College Librarian St John’s oldest book is an inconspicuous Gospel codex, a little smaller than a standard Penguin paperback. The book was produced in the late 9th/ early 10th-century, probably in Brittany but some scholars have suggested England, too. During the Middle AgesContinue reading “Librarian’s Pick #7: The Brittany Gospels”

MS 262: The Little Gidding Harmonies

This Special Collections post explores the biblical harmonies compiled by a religious community at Little Gidding in the seventeenth-century. One of the harmonies, The Whole Law of God, resides at St John’s College. The Little Gidding community provides a fascinating insight into the creation of this manuscript, and the many individual harmonies the community produced.Continue reading “MS 262: The Little Gidding Harmonies”

James Joyce in the Collection of Livres d’Artistes

This month’s blog post on the Library’s Livres d’Artistes is written by Tom Cullimore, a previous trainee and recent Assistant Librarian at St John’s College Library. The Library has a collection of livres d’artistes – you can find out more about these texts by reading Tom’s previous blog post. This collection includes two visual interpretationsContinue reading “James Joyce in the Collection of Livres d’Artistes”

Do we need pictures? Illustration of the earliest printed books.

St. John’s holds an important collection of incunables, i.e. books printed before 31st December 1501. The process of printing with movable type was invented around 1450 in Mainz by Johannes Gutenberg, as recorded by the Cologne Chronicle of 1499, a text which preserves the testimony of the first printer of Cologne, Ulrich Zell, who hadContinue reading “Do we need pictures? Illustration of the earliest printed books.”

In the Library

A selection of livres d’artiste from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries is on temporary display in St. John’s College Library. It has been drawn from the college’s collection of such books, a collection which Dr Peter Hacker built when he was the Library Fellow at the college. In the glossary of French Livres d’artiste inContinue reading “In the Library”

Not An Illustration: Livres d’artiste in the Special Collections of St. John’s College, Oxford

“Experience of our age in terms of painting—not an illustration of—(but the equivalent.)” – Jackson Pollock   This is an exhibition of a selection of the college’s livres d’artiste and some other rare books which were produced in the early 1930s, in collaboration with Leonard Lye, a modernist film-maker and sculptor. In the glossary ofContinue reading “Not An Illustration: Livres d’artiste in the Special Collections of St. John’s College, Oxford”

Paul Eluard, Poèms d’amour = Love Poems; illustrations by S. W. Hayter, versions by Brian Coffey (Bath: 107 Workshop, 1984)

Dr Peter Hacker, Fellow in Philosophy at St. John’s College, became friends with Stanley Hayter, acquiring two illustrated livres d’artiste directly from the artist’s studio while Fellow Librarian (between 1985 and 2006). Hayter’s collaboration with Paul Eluard and his translator Brian Coffey produced Poèms d’amour = Love poems in 1984. The book is one ofContinue reading “Paul Eluard, Poèms d’amour = Love Poems; illustrations by S. W. Hayter, versions by Brian Coffey (Bath: 107 Workshop, 1984)”